OK, so there's this verification thing on blogs.
It's called Captcha.
But did you know it stands for this: "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart".
It's a way to screen out spam comments.
Usually, one only needs to check a box to confirm that you're not spam. (While trying not to be personally offended at the implication that you would ever be spam even if given the chance! Totally kidding!!)
I don't know why I get all nervous waiting for the green check mark. Or why I then get all excited when it appears. (As if I was ever in doubt???)
But, sometimes the verification asks for a second step.
In this scenario, you are shown a photograph, and then asked to check off all the other photos that are in the same category.
OK, honestly, this is a difficult task when you are "reading-glass-challenged" like those of us who have reached…um…wonderful middle age.
I have found myself squinting to even see what the photos are!!
Then, the second challenge is the category itself.
I have been known to fail on my first attempt.
Once I was asked to check all the boxes that were sushi. As I squinted, I checked off the boxes that I thought were photos of sushi. Then I was informed that I had somehow failed.
What did I do wrong?
Did I mistakenly check off a spring roll, or a tiny hors d'oeuvre, or…what the heck WAS that anyway???
Or, how about the category of meat.
Don't "tiny bits of something white in a salad that look like chicken" count? Or, excuse me, should that have been considered for the incorrect salad category?
Sometimes, after encountering a few of these Captcha moments – (which I am not fond of capturing) – I find myself inordinately hungry for really random food.
Not so great.
Especially when there's no sushi in the house.
Suffice it to say, that I also used to struggle with the verification method that asked you to type in the number you saw in a photograph. Can't tell you how many times I looked, and scanned, and peered…and yes, squinted…trying to determine what the numbers actually were.
Is that an 8 or a 3? A 1 or a 7?
Where's a magnifying glass when you need one?
Now, I have to admit that I did enjoy the old verification method of one or two words that you had to retype. I had fun imagining what the gobbledygook words might mean.
And, I enjoyed the occasional actual word(s) that snuck in.
This was especially fun when the two words formed a rather funny phrase. Like *heroic lizard* or something else ridiculous – (I just made that up).
(By the way, what is a heroic lizard anyway? One who keeps his tail? Or one who burns his belly by refusing to do those funny lizard push-ups on hot cement? Or what about the one that refuses to move when I scream??)
But really, all this has got me thinking…
Two thoughts come to mind.
First of all, we are not spam to the Lord.
He has saved us, and we belong!
There is no need to add to His gift of salvation. There is nothing we can ever do to make His love for us greater or less. We are justified by our faith, and the verification is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
What a comfort in a world that is becoming increasingly more impersonal, more dangerous.
It is an age of social media, where people "connect" but often never get beyond the surface of "look good, talk good" posturing.
It is an age of identity theft, when people try to "steal" who we are.
It is an age where many are bullied, many are persecuted, many are hated – just because of misguided stereotypes and preconceived judgments.
It is an age where we can get *lost*…
For we are intimately connected to the Lord God Almighty.
The One who knows all about us, way beyond our surface. The One who promises that we are never in danger of losing our identity as His children. The One who is infinitely kind and compassionate to each and every one of us.
No more judgment, no more condemnation.
For we are held securely by Our Redeemer, the One who *verified* us when we opened the door of our hearts.
Green check mark completed!
The other thought I've had is that there is no confusion in Him.
Captcha has sometimes confused me with their numbers and their photos. I find myself struggling to understand what I'm seeing.
And in this tired old world, with its many "mixed messages", it's easy to get confused. We are constantly bombarded with conflicting viewpoints. And how widely the meter of public opinion swings.
Sometimes humans can be so naïve, so gullible, so willing to follow…
Confusion could reign, if we were not given the sure beacon of Truth.
The Bible is the perfect antidote to a world gone mad.
We are cautioned against listening to false teachers and untrue teaching.
And we do this by reading, studying, contemplating, memorizing, internalizing Scripture. By making ourselves intimately familiar with it.
We are promised that if we seek wisdom, it will be given to us.
Let's take God at His Word (literally!).
So, my friends, as we negotiate Blog Land, with all its idiosyncrasies, may we remember these two things…
We are not spam.
We need not be confused.
OK, one more thing…
We are eternally *verified* by The One who *captcha-ed* us and who has said forever…
The heroic lizard made me do it!!
I passed the test!
I got the green check mark.
"Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (Psalm 100:3, ESV)
"'My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father's hand."
(John 10:27-29, NLT)
"If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." (Romans 14:8, NIV)
"Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God's presence." (Ephesians 3:12, NLT)
"So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."
(Hebrews 4:16, NLT)
(Hebrews 4:16, NLT)
"You, therefore, dear friends, having been warned beforehand, must continually be on your guard so as not to be led astray by the false teaching of immoral men nor fall from your own steadfastness."
(2 Peter 3:17, WEYMOUTH)
(2 Peter 3:17, WEYMOUTH)
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (James 1:5, ESV)
"By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path." (Psalm 119:105, MESSAGE)
"Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action), so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17, AMP)
"You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13, ESV)
How does knowing you belong to God *straighten out the paths* of life?
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